I don't know about you, but winter is always the hardest season for me to come up with ideas to get us outside and exploring nature. So, with that in mind, I did some searching and came up with 10 fun ways to get out and explore nature in the winter.
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1. Feed the birds. Use existing bird feeders or make your own, like our simple bird feeders. Put the bird feeders close to a window and provide small notebooks, binoculars and a bird book. See what kind of birds live in your neighborhood in the winter. (*Special note: if you do decide to feed the birds, please continue to feed them until spring comes and they are able to find their own food.)
2. Explore ice. What are its properties? When does it melt? Try to break it. Mama Smiles recently spent some time exploring ice. Check out all the fun they had!
(via Mama Smiles)
3. Learn to read an outdoor thermometer and check the temperature outside. Use the opportunity to learn a little about weather and the characteristics of winter in your area.
4. Learn about snowflakes. Look at them up close with a magnifying glass. What do you see? Check out the fun The Chocolate Muffin had exploring snowflakes.
5. Explore rocks. It doesn't matter whether it is winter, spring, summer, or fall, rocks are always in abundance. Have fun exploring and learning about rocks. Or, you can do like Kitchen Counter Chronicles and make rock art.
6. Look for signs of life. Winter is the time of year when many plants are dormant. But, not everything! Go exploring and see if you can find any signs of life. If you need inspiration, Rainy Day Mum recently went searching for fairy homes (aka mushrooms).
7. Give your kids a camera and see what they can find. Here is a great post from The Mommies Made Me Do It about the time she gave her son a camera when they went on a hike.
(from The Mommies Made Me Do It)
8. Read a book about winter animals and look for signs of wildlife. Try finding foot prints near a wooded area. Learn about which animals hibernate and which ones need to forage for food in the winter. Animals in Winter (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science) by Henrietta Bancroft is a great resource for this activity.
9. Bring it inside. If it's too cold to go outside and explore, bring some nature indoors. Set up a nature table with all the nature treasures you've collected throughout the year. Or, you can do like Mama Smiles did and bring some snow indoors to play. You don't always have to be outside to explore nature!
10. Make art. Get creative. Use the natural items that you find and make beautiful art. The Chocolate Muffin Tree made this beautiful snowy land art for Valentine's Day.
Bonus activity: PLAY! Throw snowballs, make a snow angel, collect sticks, and most of all have fun!
How do you like to explore nature in the winter?